red wine meets concrete..
November 13, 2011 4:44 PM   Subscribe

New white concrete driveway, meet bottle of red wine. Please help me get the stain out!

So, we just moved into this house, about 4 weeks ago. Approximately 5 weeks ago, we looked at the house, and it still had cones on the driveway, keeping people from walking on the new driveway.

Today, I dropped a bottle of red wine out of a bag, onto the concrete. Of course it shattered!

We washed off the driveway immediately, then went to home depot and got concrete cleaner with some acid in it (not muriatic acid, but the only thing they had available in the concrete aisle). We put it on the driveway, let it sit, scrubbed it off - a couple of times. It made a slight difference, but the stain is still there.

Someone driving by suggested muriatic acid, but said that the driveway needed to be 60 days old first - is that true?

Someone else suggested oxiclean, or outdoor strength chlorox.

Please tell me your concrete cleaning stories, and if you have any suggestions - we would love to be able to fix this sooner, rather than later!
posted by needlegrrl to Home & Garden (23 answers total)
I've had good luck removing concrete stains with oxalic acid, but I would think a little time and sunlight should clear a wine stain
posted by buggzzee23 at 4:52 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

1. rent a powerwasher from your nearest equipment rental place, this will mechanically remove the stain or
2. try tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) a cleaning agent useful on concrete, or
3. possibly clorox.

I haven't had much luck using oxyclean on concrete.
posted by reverend cuttle at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2011

It's a driveway--not Cararra marble. You can try vinegar or oxalic acid but personally, I'd try to revamp expectations about a pristine driveway.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:53 PM on November 13, 2011 [16 favorites]

We often play host to friends who find it amusing to play basketball with one hand and hold a glass of wine with the other. Red wine lands on our driveway quite often. Sometimes, we slosh some bleach on the stains, but most of the time, we just let sunlight and Ma Nature handle it. The stains fade in their own time.

Stains on driveways are inevitable.
posted by MissySedai at 5:00 PM on November 13, 2011 [3 favorites]

Chances are that whatever you've already put on it has helped to "set" the stain. You could try vinegar, bleach, etc. But, agreeing with others that in the long run (a) various things including oil will stain that driveway, and (b) sunlight is your friend.
posted by beagle at 5:03 PM on November 13, 2011

I'd try white vinegar: soak some old bath towels & lay them over the top of the stain. Maybe drip some more vinegar onto the towels after a few hours. Vinegar certainly takes freshish red wine stains out of carpet, it's cheap & not going to kill children if they get it on themselves.
posted by selton at 5:04 PM on November 13, 2011
posted by JayRwv at 5:28 PM on November 13, 2011

You could tear up your driveway and put in a new one of red cobblestones. That wouldn't show wine much.

Or accept that driveways aren't meant to be pristine, unstained surfaces. This seems to me the simpler option. Plus, no environmental pollution due to runoff of whatever substances Home Depot thinks are a good idea for cleaning the outdoors.
posted by R343L at 5:29 PM on November 13, 2011 [6 favorites]

I think you are missing an opportunity here. Get some chalk and make a person outline and be sure to put the head right over the wine stain. This should be an amazing conversation starter for the holidays not to mention keeping the neighbor kids off the lawn.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:41 PM on November 13, 2011 [25 favorites]

I've had luck in similar circumstances with CLR and a pressure washer. Got the stains out just fine.
posted by addelburgh at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2011

Along the same lines as the cobblestone idea... where I am the ground freezes in the winter so all of the paved driveways are asphalt, which has a layer of sealant applied to it, and I see neighbors re-applying the sealant every few years to take care of stains. Maybe there's something like that for concrete? Plus, in the case of asphalt it's black which hides stains better, though I don't know if it would be black / would work in the case of concrete.
posted by XMLicious at 6:04 PM on November 13, 2011

Buy many large bottles of red wine vinegar. Cover your entire driveway. Voila, your stain is no longer visible.

Or not, but leaves, mud, car tires, oil...driveways are for walking on and sometimes for art.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 6:08 PM on November 13, 2011

Anthocyanins (the primary pigments in red wine) are very sensitive to pH (in fact, they are used in those pH indicators), but acids (vinegar, muriatic/hydrochloric acid) turn them red. Alkaline chemicals turn them blue or clear. Think ammonia, bleach, or dilute lye (take all appropriate safety precautions, etc.). But that's only a last resort if you can't get out the stain through soap, water, and scrubbing/powerwashing.
posted by wnissen at 6:18 PM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Time and sun will do the job.

If you're really committed to having a clean driveway, then get it sealed.
posted by 26.2 at 6:19 PM on November 13, 2011

Best answer:
I think you are missing an opportunity here. Get some chalk and make a person Santa Claus outline and be sure to put the head right over the wine stain. This should be an amazing conversation starter for the holidays not to mention keeping the neighbor kids off the lawn.

That said, I am a huge fan of using hydrogen peroxide to get red wine stains out of pretty much everything.
posted by peagood at 6:24 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might lighten it, but you'll never get the stain out completely. Time and sunlight will do the trick eventually.

High pressure washing of concrete is something to be done carefully and sparingly - it removes a layer of the concrete and, done regularly, it will destroy your driveway. If you want to keep the driveway clean and stain-free, you will need to coat it with something or you'll be fighting this battle for eternity.
posted by dg at 7:18 PM on November 13, 2011

You could always try just staining over the red wine stain. From what I remember from the bags at Lowe's the stain wouldn't really go away, but it would be less noticeable. There are some really cool stains out there, too.
posted by shesaysgo at 8:51 PM on November 13, 2011

I'd try my household go-to stain solution.
Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into a paste. Smear thickly on the stain. Leave it there to dry. Works on many surfaces (clothes and counters so far) so it might work on concrete.

But I like the Santa idea.

I'd probably make wine balloons and splatter the hell out of the driveway (crying the entire time at the horrible waste).
posted by Seamus at 10:09 PM on November 13, 2011

I don't know about concrete, but I've been told that white wine can be used to remove red wine spills from carpet and tablecloths - it might be worth a cheap bottle of white wine to give it a try.
posted by aryma at 12:08 AM on November 14, 2011

Yeah, oxidizers. Vinegar is completely the wrong thing to do for red wine.
posted by bonehead at 6:57 AM on November 14, 2011

I would wait the 60 days that is recommended for new concrete. It isn't going to get worse in that time, and I don't think you want to be putting chemicals onto concrete that isn't fully cured.

After that time, if the stain is still there, I would use bleach. Rent a power washer, mix up some bleach to maybe quarter strength, and soak the entire driveway in it. (Do this on a cloudy day so it doesn't evaporate too quickly.) Let it sit as long as you can, but not letting it dry, and then wash it off with the power washer. Make sure to be as even as you can with the power washer so you don't end up with stripes.
posted by gjc at 7:14 AM on November 14, 2011

Completely randomly I came across this Wikipedia entry about using a poultice (the same general idea as a medicated one you'd apply to a wound, I guess) to remove stains from porous rock. Cited with a link to Ask This Old House, season 5, episode 508.
posted by XMLicious at 4:45 AM on November 16, 2011

Response by poster: We waited (for the concrete to seal) and it turns out, the cleaner we used did a better job than we thought, + the rain + the pine straw stains means that you can barely tell! Thanks for all the suggestions!
posted by needlegrrl at 8:21 AM on December 16, 2011

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